Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 625–642

Width of riparian buffer and structure of adjacent plantations influence occupancy of conservation priority birds

  • Roger W. Perry
  • T. Bently Wigley
  • M. Anthony Melchiors
  • Ronald E. Thill
  • Philip A. Tappe
  • Darren A. Miller
Original Paper


Conservation of biodiversity on forest landscapes dominated by plantations has become an increasingly important topic, and opportunities to maintain or enhance biodiversity within these forests need to be recognized and applied. Riparian buffers of mature forest retained along streams in managed forest landscapes offer an opportunity to enhance biodiversity across these landscapes. However, influence of buffer width and structure of adjacent plantations on habitat use by birds is not well understood. We modeled probability of occupancy, while accounting for variable detection probabilities, for 16 bird species of regional conservation importance in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, USA. We examined occurrence of breeding birds in streamside management zone (SMZ) buffers embedded in three structural classes of pine plantation: young open-canopy, closed-canopy, and older thinned plantations. Our occupancy models included a positive association with SMZ width for nine bird species associated with mature forests. Models for three early successional species (prairie warbler [Dendroica discolor], white-eyed vireo [Vireo griseus], and northern bobwhite [Colinus virginianus]) included a negative association with SMZ width. Occupancy models for Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens), summer tanager (Piranga rubra), pine warbler (Dendroica pinus), prairie warbler, and northern bobwhite also included structural condition of adjacent plantations, but most species did not appear affected by condition of surrounding plantations. We found diverse responses among species to width of retained SMZs and structure of adjacent plantations; some species apparently benefitted from SMZs >100 m wide, while others benefitted from narrow buffers. Furthermore, most species traditionally associated with mature forests were common in narrow SMZs, regardless of width. Thus, optimal width of SMZs relative to avian conservation depends on the species of greatest conservation interest.


Arkansas Birds Forest management Intensive forestry Pine plantations SMZ Streamside management zone 


  1. Annand EM, Thompson FR III (1997) Forest bird response to regeneration practices in central hardwood forests. J Wildl Manag 61:159–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ash AN (1997) Disappearance and return of plethodontid salamanders to clearcut plots in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Conserv Biol 11:983–989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker JB, Langdon OG (1990) Loblolly pine. In: Burns RM, Honkala BH (tech. cords). Silvics of North America: 2. Conifers. Agriculture handbook 654, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. Brockerhoff EG, Berndt LA, Jactel H (2005) Role of exotic pine forests in the conservation of the critically endangered ground beetle Holcaspis brevicula (Coleoptera: Carabidae). N Z J Ecol 29:37–43Google Scholar
  5. Brockerhoff EG, Jactel H, Parrotta J, Quine C, Sayer J (2008) Plantation forests and biodiversity: oxymoron or opportunity? Biodivers Conserv 17:925–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brotons L, Wolff A, Paulus G, Martin JL (2005) Effects of adjacent agricultural habitat on the distribution of passerines in natural grasslands. Biol Conserv 124:407–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Carle J, Holmgren P (2008) Wood from planted forests: a global outlook 2005–2030. For Prod J 58:6–18Google Scholar
  9. Carnus J, Parrotta J, Brockerhoff E, Arbez M, Jactel H, Kremer A, Lamb D, O’Hara K, Walters B (2006) Planted forests and biodiversity. J For 104:65–77Google Scholar
  10. Chalfoun AD, Thompson FR III, Ratnaswamy MJ (2002) Nest predators and fragmentation: a review and metaanalysis. Conserv Biol 16:306–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapa-Vargas L, Robinson SK (2007) Nesting success of Acadian flycatchers (Empidonax virescens) in floodplain forest corridors. Auk 124:1267–1280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clout MN, Gaze PD (1984) Effects of plantation forestry on birds in New Zealand. J Appl Ecol 21:795–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Conner RN, Dickson JG (1980) Strip transect sampling and analysis for avian habitat studies. Wildl Soc Bull 8:4–10Google Scholar
  14. Conner RN, Via JW, Prather ID (1979) Effects of pine-oak clearcutting on winter and breeding birds in southwestern Virginia. Wilson Bull 91:301–316Google Scholar
  15. Conner RN, Dickson JG, Williamson JH, Ortego B (2004) Width of streamside management zones and breeding bird abundance in eastern Texas. Southeast Nat 3:669–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Darveau M, Beauchesne P, Belanger L, Hout J, Larue P (1995) Riparian forest strips as habitat for breeding birds in boreal forest. J Wildl Manag 59:67–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davies KF, Margules CR (1998) Effects of habitat fragmentation on carabid beetles: experimental evidence. J Anim Ecol 67:460–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. DeGraaf RM, Rappole JH (1995) Neotropical migratory birds: natural history, distribution, and population change. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Dickson JG, Williamson JH, Conner RN, Ortego B (1995) Streamside management zones and breeding birds in eastern Texas. Wildl Soc Bull 23:50–755Google Scholar
  20. Donovan TM, Thompson FR III, Faaborg JR (2000) Cowbird distribution at different scales of fragmentation: trade-offs between breeding and feeding opportunities. In: Cooke T, Robinson SK, Rothstein SI, Sealy SG, Smith JNM (eds) Ecology and management of cowbirds and their hosts. University of Texas Press, Austin, TexasGoogle Scholar
  21. Driscoll PV (1977) Comparison of bird counts from pine forests and indigenous vegetation. Aust Wildl Res 4:281–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Enoksson B, Angelstam P, Larsson K (1995) Deciduous forest and resident birds: the problem of fragmentation within a coniferous forest landscape. Landscape Ecol 10:267–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Estades CF, Temple SA (1999) Deciduous-forest bird communities in fragmented landscapes dominated by exotic pine plantations. Ecol Appl 9:573–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB (2006) Beyond fragmentation: the continuum model for faunal research and conservation in human-modified landscapes. Oikos 112:473–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB, Manning AD (2006) Biodiversity, ecosystem function, and resilience: ten guiding principles for commodity production landscapes. Frontiers Ecol Environ 4:80–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2006) Global forest resources assessment 2005—progress towards sustainable forest management. FAO of the United Nations, Forestry paper 147, RomeGoogle Scholar
  27. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2010) Global forest resources assessment 2010—key findings. FAO of the United Nations (brochure), RomeGoogle Scholar
  28. Friend GR (1982) Bird populations in exotic pine plantations and indigenous eucalypt forests in Gippsland, Victoria. Emu 45:80–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gjerde I, Saetersdal M (1997) Effects on avian diversity of introduced spruce Picea spp. plantations in the native pine Pinus sylvestris forests of western Norway. Biol Conserv 79:241–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gutzwiller KJ, Barrow WC Jr (2001) Bird-landscape relations in the Chihuahuan Desert: coping with uncertainties about predictive models. Ecol Appl 11:517–1532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hagar JC (1999) Influence of riparian buffer width on bird assemblages in western Oregon. J Wildl Manag 63:484–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hamel PB (1992) The land manager’s guide to the birds of the South. The nature conservancy, southeastern region. Chapel Hill, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  33. Hannon SJ, Paszkowski CA, Boutin S, DeGroot J, Macdonald SE, Wheatley M, Eaton BR (2002) Abundance and species composition of amphibians, small mammals, and songbirds in riparian forest buffer strips of varying widths in the boreal mixedwood of Alberta. Can J For Res 32:1784–1800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harris LD (1984) The fragmented forest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  35. Hodges MF, Krementz DG (1996) Neotropical migratory breeding bird communities in riparian forests of different widths along the Altamaha River, Georgia. Wilson Bull 108:496–506Google Scholar
  36. Howell CA, Dijak WD, Thompson FR III (2007) Landscape context and selection for forest edge by breeding brown-headed cowbirds. Landscape Ecol 22:273–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Humphrey JW, Newton AC, Peace AJ, Holden E (2000) The importance of conifer plantations in northern Britain as a habitat for native fungi. Biol Conserv 96:241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Johnson SL, Jones JA (2000) Stream temperature responses to forest harvest and debris flows in Western Cascades, Oregon. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 57:30–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Keller CME, Robbins CS, Hatfield JS (1993) Avian communities in riparian forests of different widths in Maryland and Delaware. Wetlands 13:137–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kiffney PM, Richardson JS, Bull JP (2003) Responses of periphyton and insects to experimental manipulation of riparian buffer width along forest streams. J Appl Ecol 40:1060–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kilgo JC, Sargent RA, Chapman BR, Miller KV (1996) Nest-site selection by hooded warblers in bottomland hardwoods of South Carolina. Wilson Bull 108:53–60Google Scholar
  42. Kilgo JC, Sargent RA, Miller KV, Chapman BR (1997) Landscape influences on breeding bird communities in hardwood fragments in South Carolina. Wildl Soc Bull 25:878–885Google Scholar
  43. Kilgo JC, Sargent RA, Chapman BR, Miller KV (1998) Effect of stand width and adjacent habitat on breeding bird communities in bottomland hardwoods. J Wildl Manag 62:72–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kinley TA, Newhouse NJ (1997) Relationship of riparian reserve zone width to bird density and diversity in southeastern British Columbia. Northwest Sci 71:75–86Google Scholar
  45. Knopf FL, Johnson RR, Rich T, Samson FB, Szaro RC (1988) Conservation of riparian ecosystems in the United States. Wilson Bull 100:272–284Google Scholar
  46. Lambert JD, Hannon S (2000) Short-term effects of timber harvest on abundance, territory characteristics, and pairing success of ovenbirds in riparian buffer strips. Auk 117:687–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Larson MA, Dijak WD, Thompson FR III, Millspaugh JJ (2003) Landscape-level habitat suitability models for twelve species in southern Missouri. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, General Technical Report NC-233, St. Paul, MinnesotaGoogle Scholar
  48. Laurent GD, Chism JD, Rhodes RK, Wilson CR, Townsend WR (1989) Soil survey of Garland County, Arkansas. United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  49. Lee P, Smyth C, Boutin S (2004) Quantitative review of riparian buffer width guidelines from Canada and the United States. For Ecol Manag 70:165–180Google Scholar
  50. Lindenmayer DB, Hobbs RJ (2004) Faunal conservation in Australian plantation forests—a review. Biol Conserv 119:151–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lindenmayer DB, Cunningham RB, Donnelly CF, Nix H, Lindenmayer BD (2002) Effects of forest fragmentation on bird assemblages in a novel landscape context. Ecol Monogr 72:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lindenmayer DB, McIntyre A, Fischer J (2003) Birds in eucalypt and pine forests: landscape alteration and its implications for research models of faunal habitat use. Biol Conserv 110:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. MacArthur RH, Wilson EO (1967) The theory of island biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  54. Machtans CS, Villard M, Hannon SJ (1996) Use of riparian buffer strips as movement corridors by forest birds. Conserv Biol 10:1366–1379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. MacKenzie DI, Bailey LL (2004) Assessing the fit of site occupancy models. J Agri Biol Environ Stat 9:300–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. MacKenzie DI, Nichols JD, Lachman GB, Droege S, Royle JA, Langtimm CA (2002) Estimating site occupancy rates when detection probabilities are less than one. Ecology 83:2248–2255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. MacKenzie DI, Nichols JD, Royle JA, Pollock KH, Bailey LL, Hines JE (2006) Occupancy estimation and modeling: inferring patterns and dynamics of species occurrence. Academic Press, Boston, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  58. Marczak LB, Sakamaki T, Turvey SL, Deguise I, Wood SLR, Richardson JS (2010) Are forested buffers an effective conservation strategy for riparian fauna? An assessment using meta-analysis. Ecol Appl 20:126–134CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. McIntyre NE (1995) Effects of forest patch size on avian diversity. Landscape Ecol 10:85–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Meiklejohn BA, Hughes JD (1999) Bird communities in riparian buffer strips of industrial forests. Am Midl Nat 141:172–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Melchiors MA, Cicero C (1987) Streamside management zones and adjacent upland habitats in the Ouachita Mountains. Proc Annu Conf Southeast Assoc Fish Wildl Agencies 42:385–393Google Scholar
  62. Miller DA, Wigley TB, Miller KV (2009) Managed forests and conservation of terrestrial biodiversity in the southern United States. J For 107:197–203Google Scholar
  63. Mitra SS, Sheldon FH (1993) Use of an exotic tree plantation by Bornean lowland forest birds. Auk 110:529–540Google Scholar
  64. Moore NW, Hooper MD (1975) On the number of bird species in British Woods. Biol Conserv 8:239–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Murray NL, Stauffer DF (1995) Nongame bird use of habitat in central Appalachian riparian forests. J Wildl Manag 59:78–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Norton MR, Hannon SJ, Schmiegelow FKA (2000) Fragments are not islands: patch vs landscape perspectives on songbird presence and abundance in a harvested boreal forest. Ecography 23:209–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Opdam P (1991) Metapopulation theory and habitat fragmentation: a review of holarctic breeding bird studies. Landscape Ecol 5:93–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Panjabi AO, Dunn EH, Blancher PJ, Hunter WC, Altman B, Bart J, Beardmore CJ, Berlanga H, Butcher GS, Davis SK, Demarest DW, Dettmers R, Easton W, Gomez de Silva Garza H, Iñigo-Elias EE, Pashley DN, Ralph CJ, Rich TD, Rosenberg KV, Rustay CM, Ruth JM, Wendt JS, Will TC (2005) The Partners in flight handbook on species assessment. Version 2005. Partners in flight technical series no. 3. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.
  69. Pawson SM, Brockerhoff EG, Meenken ED, Didham RK (2008) Non-native plantation forests as alternative habitat for native forest beetles in a heavily modified landscape. Biodivers Conserv 17:1127–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Peak RG, Thompson FR III (2006) Factors affecting avian species richness and density in riparian areas. J Wildl Manag 70:173–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Pearson SF, Manuwal DA (2001) Breeding bird responses to riparian buffer width in managed Pacific Northwest Douglas-fir forests. Ecol Appl 11:840–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Peduzzi P, Cancato J, Kemper E, Holford TR, Feinstein A (1996) A simulation of the number of events per variable in logistic regression analysis. J Clin Epidem 99:1373–1379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Perkins DW, Hunter ML Jr (2006) Effects of riparian timber management on amphibians in Maine. J Wildl Manag 70:657–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rich AC, Dobkin DS, Niles LJ (1994) Defining forest fragmentation by corridor width: the influence of narrow forest-dividing corridors on forest-nesting birds in southern New Jersey. Conserv Biol 8:1109–1121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rich TD, Beardmore CJ, Berlanga H, Blancher PJ, Bradstreet MSW, Butcher GS, Demarest DW, Dunn EH, Hunter WC, Iñigo-Elias EE, Kennedy JA, Martell AM, Panjabi AO, Pashley DN, Rosenberg KV, Rustay CM, Wendt JS, Will TC (2004) Partners in flight North American Landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  76. Robbins CS, Dawson DK, Dowell BA (1989) Habitat area requirements of breeding forest birds of the Middle Atlantic States. Wildl Mono 103:1–34Google Scholar
  77. Robinson SK, Thompson FR III, Donovan TM, Whitehead D, Faaborg J (1995) Regional forest fragmentation and the nesting success of migratory birds. Science 267:1987–1990CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Rodewald AD, Vitz AC (2005) Edge- and area-sensitivity of shrubland birds. J Wildl Manag 69:681–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rudolph DC, Dickson JG (1990) Streamside zone width and amphibian and reptile abundance. Southwest Nat 35:472–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sargent RA, Kilgo JC, Chapman BR, Miller KV (1998) Predation of artificial nests in hardwood fragments enclosed by pine and agricultural habitats. J Wildl Manag 62:1438–1442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schieck J (1997) Biased detection of bird vocalizations affect comparisons of bird abundance among forested habitats. Condor 99:179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sedjo RA (1999) Potential of high-yield plantation forestry for meeting timber needs. New For 17:1–3Google Scholar
  83. Sedjo RA (2001) The role of forest plantations in the world’s future timber supply. For Chron 77:221–226Google Scholar
  84. Shirley SM, Smith JNM (2005) Bird community structure across riparian buffer strips of varying width in a coastal temperate forest. Biol Conserv 125:475–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Skiles A (1981) Arkansas climate atlas. Arkansas Energy Office; Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, Little Rock, ArkansasGoogle Scholar
  86. Smith KG (1977) Distribution of summer birds along a forest moisture gradient in an Ozark watershed. Ecology 58:810–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Spackman SC, Hughes JW (1995) Assessment of minimum stream corridor width for biological conservation: species richness and distribution along mid-order streams in Vermont, USA. Biol Conserv 71:325–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Stauffer DF, Best LB (1980) Habitat selection by birds of riparian communities: evaluating effects of habitat alterations. J Wildl Manag 44:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Thompson FR III, Dijak WD, Kulowiec TG, Hamilton DA (1992) Breeding bird populations in Missouri Ozark Forests with and without clearcutting. J Wildl Manag 56:23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Thompson FR III, Donovan TM, DeGraaf RM, Faaborg J, Robinson SK (2002) A multi-scale perspective of the effects of forest fragmentation on birds in eastern forests. Stud Avian Biol 25:8–19Google Scholar
  91. Thurmond DP, Miller KV, Harris TG (1995) Effects of streamside management zone width on avifauna communities. South J Appl For 19:166–169Google Scholar
  92. Triquet AM, McPeek GA, McComb WC (1990) Songbird diversity in clearcuts with and without a riparian buffer strip. J Soil Water Conserv 45:500–503Google Scholar
  93. Turner JC, Gerwin JA, Lancia RA (2002) Influences of hardwood stand area and adjacency on breeding birds in an intensively managed pine landscape. For Sci 45:323–330Google Scholar
  94. Vallecillo S, Brotons L, Herrando S (2007) Assessing the response of open habitat bird species to landscape changes in Mediterranean mosaics. Biodivers Conserv 17:103–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. van Dorp D, Opdam PFM (1987) Effects of patch size, isolation and regional abundance on forest bird communities. Landscape Ecol 1:59–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Ward JM, Jackson CR (2004) Sediment trapping within forestry streamside management zones: Georgia Piedmont, USA. J Am Water Resour Assoc 40:1421–1431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Wiens JA (1994) Habitat fragmentation: island vs landscape perspectives on bird conservation. Ibis 137:S97–S104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Wilcove DS, McClellan CH, Dobson AP (1986) Habitat fragmentation in the temperate zone. In: Soulé MS (ed) Conservation biology: the science of scarcity and diversity. Sinauer Assoc, Sunderland, Massachusetts, pp 237–256Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA)  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger W. Perry
    • 1
  • T. Bently Wigley
    • 2
  • M. Anthony Melchiors
    • 3
  • Ronald E. Thill
    • 4
  • Philip A. Tappe
    • 5
  • Darren A. Miller
    • 6
  1. 1.US Forest Service, US Department of AgricultureHot SpringsUSA
  2. 2.National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.ClemsonUSA
  3. 3.Timberlands Technology, Weyerhaeuser CompanyFederal WayUSA
  4. 4.US Forest Service, US Department of AgricultureSouthern Research StationNacogdochesUSA
  5. 5.School of Forest Resources, University of Arkansas at MonticelloMonticelloUSA
  6. 6.Timberlands Technology, Weyerhaeuser CompanyColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations